The book that changed my life was Cartesian Meditations: an Introduction to Phenomenology by Edmund Husserl (originally published 1931, published in English translation 1960). Husserl was the founder of phenomenology, a philosophical movement that seeks to discover the truth by returning to ‘the things themselves’, putting aside presuppositions and assumptions by a kind of philosophical purification. This difficult book converted me to philosophy in 1988 during my BA and allowed me to escape from a purely religious approach to the search for truth, one based on faith and tradition. The philosophical approach, based on rational reflection and constant questioning, has remained very important to me, especially since I have come to appreciate how it is also part of the Buddha’s teaching.
Dhivan Thomas Jones is author of This Being, That Becomes: The Buddha’s Teaching on Conditionality.